Lisa Guernsey

Lisa Guernsey is the director of the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation and the editor of

Recent Articles

China Goes Big

Can the country go big for every three-year-old child?

American politicians reveal their nervousness about China whenever they bash the country’s investments around the world or mention Beijing’s smog. China’s efforts to expand preschool may make them even more anxious. The Ministry of Education aims for every child to have access to what the Chinese call “kindergarten”—three years of pre-primary school starting at age three—by 2020. 

A Place for Play

Why reading programs must combine playful learning with direct instruction


When the latest scores of our country's national reading test arrived this spring, they were as depressing as usual: Two-thirds of American fourth-graders, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, cannot read at grade level. Among Hispanic and African American children, it's even higher.

Considering the consequences of growing up as a struggling reader, you might assume that the solution is to help children build better reading skills as soon as possible. Research shows that the earlier specialists intervene, the more likely children will surmount reading difficulties. Surely, early -- literacy instruction is a good solution. What could be controversial about that?